Legislation: Feed ban can be lifted

Feed ban can be lifted

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To combat the BSE crisis just over 20 years ago, the EU banned the feeding of processed animal protein (PAP) in all animal species.
To combat the BSE crisis just over 20 years ago, the EU banned the feeding of processed animal protein (PAP) in all animal species.

GERMANY, Papenburg. The European Parliament's Environment Committee has voted in favor of the feed ban on animal by-products by a narrow majority of 39 votes to 35.

The European Commission had proposed to allow the feeding of animal by-products from pigs to poultry. Likewise, animal by-products from poultry should be allowed to be fed to pigs. The Greens and the Left had submitted an objection to the Commission's proposal. Social Democrats and right-wing nationalists supported it.

Jens Gieseke (CDU), member of the Environment Committee and responsible EPP rapporteur for the dossier, is relieved about the decision. He sees shortcomings in the content of the objection. "Greens and Left ignore the scientific assessment of the European agency EFSA. They use wrong definitions and draw absurd conclusions." Gieseke continues, "In this, the feeding of animal proteins is in the spirit of the Green Deal."

PAP (processed animal protein), which is left over today when animals are slaughtered, is incinerated or exported to other EU countries. To meet the protein needs of pigs and poultry, soy is imported from overseas. "While the valuable animal proteins are exported, we import tons of soy. Surely this cannot be in the spirit of a sustainable circular economy," Gieseke continued. Under the Commission's proposal, insects can now also be fed to pigs and poultry. "We are using innovative potential for sustainable management."

The argument that allowing PAP could lead to cross-contamination or contamination in cattle feed and thus a new outbreak of BSE is not valid. "We are only allowing the feeding of pigs to poultry and poultry to pigs here. But BSE is purely a ruminant disease," Gieseke said. "In addition, the proposal provides for strict production criteria such as separate production lines. In addition, there are sufficient testing possibilities today for the detection of PAP in animal feed. A zero tolerance limit applies. Contaminated feed would have to be disposed of as soon as PAP is detected in cattle feed or cross-contamination. The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) also sees no risk to human or animal health if it is re-approved."

Gieseke expressed disappointment with the committee members who voted in favor of the objection. "There is no scientific basis for upholding the ban. We're always calling for strengthening the circular economy and getting upset about rainforest deforestation. But here, where we can concretely improve something, some block for pure ideological reasons. The Greens and the Left ignore science and stand for ideological bans. They fight sustainable concepts that create real added value."


To combat the BSE crisis just over 20 years ago, the EU banned the feeding of processed animal protein (PAP) in all animal species. At that time, there was no way to reliably test cattle feed for PAP contamination. Therefore, as a precautionary measure and without scientific basis, all processing of PAP in animal feed was banned. In the meantime, however, it is possible to detect PAP contamination - for example, with the now widely known PCR tests.  BSE is considered to have been defeated in Europe. There have been no new cases in the EU since 2016. In Germany, there was last one case in 2014.

The EU is heavily dependent on soy imports to meet protein needs in livestock feed. At the same time, Europe is the only economic region where the feeding of animal proteins is not allowed. There has never been an import ban on animals or animal products fed with animal proteins.

Therefore, the Commission has decided in a delegated act to make exceptions to the general ban to allow the feeding of poultry with PAP derived from farmed insects and from domestic pigs, and the feeding of pigs with PAP derived from farmed insects and from poultry. It also seeks to lift the ban on the use of ruminant collagen and gelatin in the feeding of non-ruminant livestock. In addition, the decision includes requirements for controls by member states and a number of safety regulations, such as a ban on intra-species feeding or strict separation of production lines.

Industry representatives such as the German Farmers' Association and the German Federation of the Organic Food Industry (Bund Ökologische Lebensmittelwirtschaft e.V. (BÖLW) had spoken out against the objection of the Greens and the Left in advance.

Source: European Parliament


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